Tuesday, March 03, 2009

American Idol - Looking For 3 in Group 3 to Make 9 on 3/3/09

American Idol - Top 36 - Group 3 - Performance Night

Group 1 and Group 2 have performed so after this week, we will have technically seen everyone and amongst them, someone will be crowned a new American Idol. (Of course, this year, since the Wild Card round is back, they've stated that they may pull non-Top 36'ers back into the Wild Card round so anything can still happen. And also remember, Clay Aiken and Jennifer Hudson were both through on the Wild Card rounds).

Anyways, so who is going to join Adam Lambert, Alexis Grace, Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen, Danny Gokey and Michael Sarver? You know, other than Lil Rounds? (Who might actually add some colour into this lineup)

I've got to give America credit though for so far voting in 2 singers (Allison and Kris) that were barely seen previous to these rounds. Considering 7 of the Top 36 were barely seen, that's a pretty good average. Now let's see if Felicia has any chance in hell. Looking at the lackluster Group 3, she actually might (I write this before the show started but it almost holds water even after).

Von Smith
22 years old
Home: Kansas City, MO
Audition: Kansas City, MO
Song: "You're All I Need to Get By" (by Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson made famous by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell)

Grade: B

Um, I did not expect him to actually do well. I think I expected him to oversing things but as the judges said, he really came into his own. I actually liked the performance.
Listen to mp3 here. Listening to just the voice, I think I know why I liked this way more than I should. He sounds like Gary Barlow (of 90's Brit boyband Take That) and I have a soft spot for Robbie Williams arch nemesis.

Taylor Vaifanua
16 years old
Home: Hurricane, UT
Audition: Salt Lake City, UT
Song: "If I Ain't Got You" (by Alicia Keys)

Grade: C

She doesn't have a bad voice but it just sounds weak compared to Alicia Keys' original recording and it ends up sounding kind of awful. On the up side, Alicia Keys was one of my "artists" picks in the pool so I get a point! Woo!!!
Listen to mp3 here.

Oh snap, did they just play out Taylor and completely forget about Randy's comments? While it seems like Simon vs. Kara is the new Simon vs. Paula since Paula and Simon now seem to have some sort of coalition, I agree that 4 judges might sometimes be too much, but it's not Kara I want out, it's Randy, who has now become pretty useless. Simon's the mean one, Paula's the wacky nice one and Kara is the one with some fresh and interesting new perspective, but Randy? Yo Dawg, what's the point?

Alex Wagner-Trugman
19 years old
Home: Studio City, CA
Audition: Phoenix, AZ
Song: "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" (by Elton John, Bernie Taupin, made famous by Elton John)

Grade: C

It started off pretty decently but then he tried to show off too much and had a vocal gymnastics workout on the song (in addition to trying to bulk up to be like Simon) which seemed geeky as if he was trying too hard (which he was). I mean, the geekiness is amusing and endearing but Simon was right, he was trying way too hard. The nice boy made his nice sounding voice sound not so nice.
Listen to mp3 here.

Arianna Afsar
16 years old
Home: San Diego, CA
Audition: Phoenix, AZ
Song: "The Winner Takes It All" (by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, made famous by Abba)

Grade: C

Abba. This could win her big points if she pulled it off (and take it all). Or cost her dearly. Somehow she managed to be kind of in the middle. It wasn't a complete disaster, and there were moments that sounded great, but then there were some moments where she too did some unnecessary vocal gymnastics. What's with that tonight? I'm not talking just singing at the top of their lungs on a high pitch note. I mean all that trilling and making some off keys cadences. It was weird. It's too bad because I could hear a good voice within Arianna.
Listen to mp3 here.

Ju'Not Joyner
26 years old
Home: Bowie, MD
Audition: New York, NY
Song: "Hey There Delilah" (by Tom Higgenson, made famous by Plain White T's)

Grade: B+

I really didn't think he could pull this off but while it was a little too slow (I wish he picked it up at the halfway point), it was a nice soulful rendition of a song I'm really sick of. But Kara was right, it felt like he was holding back a bit and he should bust it out more next time, but generally it was really nice.
Listen to mp3 here.

Kristen McNamara
22 years old
Home: Napa Valley, CA
Audition: Louisville, KY
Song: "Give Me One Reason" (by Tracy Chapman)

Grade: B+

Crap. She's actually pretty good. I HATE HER and her cutesy poor-me talking voice but her singing voice sounds NOTHING like her talking voice and it's self assured and bold. Crap Crap Crap.
Listen to mp3 here.

Nathaniel Marshall
18 years old
Home: Malone, NY
Audition: New York, NY
Song: "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" (by Jim Steinman, made famous by Meat Loaf)

Grade: C+

He can hit the notes and his did a pretty good interpretation but Simon is right, the Olivia Newton John headband and all is too much and makes the performance uncomfortable. Overall it was odd, because soundwise, it wasn't a total trainwreck but it kinda felt like it was. I think it's all the piercings and that he can be cutesy annoying.
Listen to mp3 here.

Felicia Barton
26 years old
Home: Virginia Beach, VA
Audition: Louisville, KY
Song: "No One" (by Alicia Keys, Kerry Brothers, Jr., George D. Harry, made famous by Alicia Keys)

Grade: B

WOOO!!! Another Alicia Keys song, another point for me in the pool! So the replacement girl Felicia attempts Alicia Keys and fares far better than Taylor but it still wasn't completely out of the ballpark for me. She had some screaming sections when she really couldn't hit the notes. That being said, it was pretty good on this night where so far, mostly people I hate are doing well (Kristen, Von, Nathaniel).
Listen to mp3 here.

Scott MacIntyre
23 years old
Home: Scottsdale, AZ
Audition: Phoenix, AZ
Song: "Mandolin Rain" (by Bruce Hornsby, John Hornsby, made famous by Bruce Hornsby and the Range)

Grade: C+

I thought it sounded very elevator music. Both the song and his singing. Although I now feel old because my sister said she's never heard of this song or Bruce Hornsby ever before. I don't know if that's sad or a good thing.
Listen to mp3 here.

Kendall Beard
23 years old
Home: Austin, TX
Audition: San Juan, PR
Song: "This One's for the Girls" (by Chris Lindsey, Hillary Lindsey, Aimee Mayo, made famous by Martina McBride)

Grade: D-

Well, so much for finding a new Carrie Underwood this week. That was atrocious. Was there a single note that was on key? Hmm... I should say something nice. She's blonde and kinda pretty in that fake blonde white woman way.
Listen to mp3 here.

Jorge Nuñez
20 years old
Home: Carolina, PR
Audition: San Juan, PR
Song: "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" (by Elton John, Bernie Taupin, made famous by Elton John)

Grade: B-

The judges debated the whole time about the accent. And while I hate to sound racist or something, I didn't dig the accent, but he did have a decent voice. But in the end, I didn't love the performance even though I thought it was generally okay overall.
Listen to mp3 here.

Lil Rounds
23 years old
Home: Memphis, TN
Audition: Kansas City, MO
Song: "Be Without You" (by Mary J. Blige, Johnta Austin, Bryan-Michael Cox, Jason Perry, made famous by Mary J. Blige)

Grade: B

Here's a case of too much build up. While Danny and Adam basically lived up to the hype (and got way overhyped if you ask me), Lil sort of disappointed me a lil' with a weaker first half of the song, but it got better in the second half. The judges loved her. Because you know, they've built her up this whole time, she's in the anchor position, and they need a black girl in the Top 12. Plus, she's one of my pool picks. So she HAS to go through. But I wanted to LOVE this performance and I didn't. It just seemed very copycat, but maybe it's cause I don't love Mary J. Blige's song (I like more as a person than an actual singer).
Listen to mp3 here.

Best of the Night: Ju'Not Joyner
Best Female of the Night: Kristen McNamara
Second Best Male/Female of the Night: Von Smith/Felicia Barton

Honestly, this was a close one, with Lil Rounds, Felicia Barton and Von Smith vying for 3rd. Who would have thought Lil Rounds would be vying for 3rd and not in first place? But she just didn't blow me away with her Mary J. Blige impression. And it's killing me to say it but Kristen was my favorite girl. And Von was probably my second favorite guy. Felicia would have scored higher if she just didn't scream those top notes, because the rest was a nice comeback.

Still, no one in Group 3 blew me away, but about half the group was pretty decent (with the other half complete write-offs which at least makes life easier). It really could be anyone's game still.

Who will get voted in:
Top Girl: Lil Rounds
Top Guy: Von Smith
Third Pick: Felicia Barton

Will get asked back for Wild Card Week: Ju'Not Joyner, Kristen McNamara, Jorge Nuñez (I'm going with Von to win the spot over Ju'Not mainly because Ju'Not's song was quieter while Von will get the white tween girls voting in their McMansions (as their parents file for bankruptcy) for a louder song that was surprisingly subdued for Von).

For more on American Idol:
Click here for the most recent posts.
Season 8:
Top 2 Performance
Top 3 Performance, Top 3 Results
Top 4 Performance, Top 4 Results
Top 5 Performance, Top 5 Results
Top 6 + Matt (Top 7 Redux) Performance, Top 7 Redux Results
Top 7 Performance, Top 7 Results
Top 8 Performance, Top 8 Results
Top 9 Performance
Top 10 Performance
Top 12 Performance, Top 12 Results
Top 13 Performance, Top 13 Results
Top 36:
Group 1, Group 2, Group 3
Wild Card, Wild Card Results
Pre-Top 36:
Who Are You Going To Vote For?
Handicapping the Alleged American Idols

Thanks again to Rickey for the mp3's.
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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